tv NBC Bay Area News Special Bay Area Proud NBC May 14, 2017 4:30pm-5:01pm PDT
male announcer: you're watching an nbc bay area news special, "bay area proud." doing loads of good, an apple engineer converts an old van into a mobile laundromat and hits the streets. but clean clothes is only part of his mission. ron powers: you know, it's one thing to wash someone's clothes, even to feed them and help them, but it's another to feed the soul. female: i thought it was very interesting and ambitious. announcer: tiny people building a tiny house, the first of its kind project one milpitas elementary school teacher has challenged her students to tackle. rita malspy: and they were like, [gasping] "could we do that?" announcer: turning a second choice into something first rate, how a small thrift shop is helping sick and dying children in a big way. dee gonzales: when you find something you love to do,
it no longer becomes a challenge. announcer: but first: kennan: so, the first time i looked at his resume, i was like, "whoa, who is this guy?" announcer: a stanford professor heads across the bay, looking to prove a point, and ends up finding a partner in crime. sam savage: first time i walked through his classroom, it was like we'd been teaching for 3 years. i just, i don't know how to describe it. announcer: here's nbc bay area's garvin thomas. garvin thomas: thank you so much for joining us. you could easily make a quick list of all the ways in which kennan scott and sam savage are different. what they share, though, is a love of teaching, and that is benefiting more than just their students. sam: most people don't understand, like, how long this really takes. garvin: dr. sam savage is an expert in the field of uncertainty and risk. sam: i quoted that thing that you had written in a-- garvin: a stanford adjunct professor who corporate managers and utility executives seek out to learn ways to make their companies smarter and safer. sam: and you've got all these extreme views. garvin: it's a complex field that sam tell his audience
he's discovered a simple way to teach, so simple, 8th graders could learn it. and how does sam know? sam: hey, kids. garvin: well, he's done it. just a few months ago, sam made his first visit to west oakland middle school. sam: how do you add uncertain numbers together? garvin: he went there to prove his point. he ended up finding a partner in crime. sam: first time i walked through his classroom, it was like we'd been teaching together for 3 years. i just, i don't know how to describe it. kennan: that people's money makes money-- garvin: kennan scott teaches engineering at west oakland. he wasn't about to say, "no," when sam came calling. kennan: so, the first time i looked at his resume, i was like, "whoa, who is this guy?" garvin: kennan knew his students would benefit from a visit by such a highly regarded academic. what he didn't know is how well the two would hit it off. sam: here, give me the dice, kennan. let me show you what i mean, hoo. kennan: it is like stand up with us. i think, ultimately, more than anything, it's unwritten, it's unscripted, but it's amazing to watch him
just captivate the room with his energy and who he is and his knowledge. and then i get to be, like, the colored commentator, you know? i get to come in and be like, "hey, you guys, there's a trick up my sleeve. it's called knowledge." garvin: it is, in many ways, an unlikely partnership that is benefiting all involved. kennan's students gaining not just knowledge, but confidence with every visit by sam. sam: i wish i had time to find out how you kids got so smart and know all this stuff. garvin: and sam enjoying teaching perhaps more than any other time in his 40-year career. sam: and so we'll have a live contest-- garvin: sam is excited to share his experience in middle school with other experts in his field. but if there's one lesson we can all learn from these two inspiring intellectuals, it's that sometimes teaching probability is all about the chemistry. garvin: what do you say to someone who saved your life?
"thank you" hardly seems enough. it's a question one san francisco man had weeks to think about before finally meeting the young people he believes are responsible for him still being here. garvin: in this unforgettable city, it is an uncomfortable fact of life. to get through even the simplest of days, one must regularly turn a blind eye to people in crisis. aaron olvera: i don't think you saw it, but i definitely saw-- garvin: this tale though is about three people, very young ones at that, who didn't turn away, and the one man who is forever grateful. kevin shanahan: and it's not questioning or wondering. it's they saved my life. fishermen were around back over here. garvin: kevin shanahan is a long-time member of san francisco's legendary dolphin swim club. on february 21, like so many hundreds of times before, kevin went for a swim in aquatic park.
this past crazy winter though has played havoc with the bay's tides and currents, and kevin soon realized he was no match for the sea that day and was being swept away. kevin: my only recourse to i need to catch, i need to grab a piling 'cause i'm goin' under the pier. garvin: kevin grabbed on and yelled for help, unsure if anyone could hear him above the wind and the waves. male: so, it was like-- garvin: but 9-year-old aaron olvera did. aaron: right around here. i couldn't quite make out what he was saying because he couldn't say it very well and we were, like, a little far away. garvin: fishing for crabs that day with older brother, fermin, and his girlfriend, jennifer cervantes, the three didn't rely on someone else to do something. they sprang into action. lowering a rope to kevin, calling 911, and waiting. from the top of the pier, however, they couldn't see kevin below and had no idea hypothermia had begun to set in. kevin: "this is it. this is the day."
and i'm kind of accepting the fact that i'm gonna die today. garvin: a police rescue boat, though, soon appeared and kevin was pulled out of the water. the two things he wanted more than anything: to get warm-- kevin: are you aaron? garvin: and to thank those brave kids. kevin: you saved my life, thank you very much. my name's kevin. garvin: which is just what he got to do. kevin: oh, man, i can't tell you, thank you so much for seeing me and then makin' the call, and you're a good man, thank you. garvin: the brothers and jennifer not only getting kevin's thanks-- female: thank you and congratulations. garvin: but that of an entire city, showing us all that sometimes, getting involved can mean saving a life. garvin: a dollar can go a long way. in fact, it's how one san leandro thrift store is helping sick children and their families.
dee gonzalez is the woman behind that store. when she and some friends were trying to open it, dee once cornered the mayor in a bathroom to make her pitch. she's persistent, she says, because the cause is worth it. dee: look at how cute isn't it darling? garvin: for the past 12 years, dee gonzales has been running the treasures hospice thrift shop in downtown san leandro, selling, well, just about anything, charging close to nothing. dee: a whole 50 cents, we can get that. dee: a lady donated all these hats-- garvin: dee's got a whole lot she could share about selling secondhand stuff. dee: karen'll get that red scarf for ya. garvin: but she's got something even more valuable to teach the rest of us, like how to turn a second choice in life into something first rate. dee: when you find something you love to do, it no longer becomes a challenge. garvin: it all has to do, dee says,
with this place, the george mark children's house, a home away from home for sick and often terminally ill children and their families. dee, years ago, wanted to volunteer here so she and a friend took a tour. dee: coming home from george mark house, i had to pull off to the side of the road 'cause both of us were weeping. "this is not for us." garvin: thinking of parents losing a child just hit too close to home for dee. she, you see, lost her son to heart disease. dee: i'm sorry, i can't. garvin: but when that one door closed, dee and some friends decided to open this one. dee: she's been a good customer. garvin: every cent they have made at treasures hospice over the years, after paying their bills, has gone to george mark. and over the years, those cents have added up to quite a few dollars.
dee: approximately 250,000 from dollar items. female: in these little tiny increments, what a difference they've really made up here. that's a lot of care for our families and children. garvin: dee gives a lot of credit to her team of volunteers, not just for their hard work, but for their companionship over the years, and for helping her prove that plan b can sometimes turn out to be an a plus. announcer: coming up on this "bay area proud" special, an east bay rescue organization is having big success. how they've almost singlehandedly lowered kill rates at the shelter. ann dunn: these cats are eminently adoptable. they just need to be in the right environment. announcer: the story next in our "bay area proud" special.
and it's having remarkable success. when they say they are saving cats' lives, they have the numbers to back it up. ann: her coming back here, i mean, i think she's just really a different cat now. garvin: ann dunn will be the first to tell you she's the last one you'd expect to run a cat rescue, particularly if you knew her in college. ann: my closest friends were all doing cat rescue, and i could not have cared less. i could not have cared less. garvin: all that changed, however, one day when ann crossed paths with a single stray kitten. ann: there was this little orange tabby, and i always say it's like my heart grew three sizes that day. i just, i'm like, "i'll keep him." garvin: that rescue led to another. and eventually, ann began to volunteer at oakland animal services. it was there ann saw firsthand that the cats who could handle the caged and noisy shelter environment were easily adopted. but those who couldn't, those who withdrew or became
aggressive because of it were considered unadoptable and most likely killed. ann and other volunteers were determined to help them. ann: 'cause we see that these cats are eminently adoptable. they just need to be in the right environment. somebody just needs to give them a chance and get them out of a small cage surrounded by barking dogs. garvin: at first cat town focused on fostering in homes, but ann knew exposure was a barrier to adoption as well. so, 2 years ago, they opened the country's first cat café, a storefront, no-cage adoption showcase and coffee. the success has been staggering. thanks in great part to cat town and ann's team of more than 200 volunteers, oakland animal services' euthanasia rate has dropped from 42 to 14%. rebecca katz is the shelter's director.
rebecca katz: i feel so fortunate to have a partner like ann dunn and cat town because it's really resulted in tremendous life saving. it's a collaboration. it's not a conflict. ann: the thing that i'm most excited about is we have some really small spaces and we have some larger spaces. garvin: things are going so well, cat town is expanding, giving more people, ann hopes, a chance to judge a cat not in a cage but with a cup of coffee. announcer: coming up, a silicon valley engineer comes up with an innovative idea to give loads of love. his mission, to help those less fortunate. and-- darren greenwood: somebody you don't know is thinkin' about ya. announcer: how to you thank the people who saved your son's life? one father grabbed his paintbrush and got to work. it's a best of "bay area proud."
usually, though, it means something new in technology. but it also does extend beyond that. an apple engineer has come up with an innovative idea, not just to help the homeless, but put his faith into action. garvin: ron powers is a mechanical engineer by profession, which explains the question of how he was able to pull off such an out-of-the-box idea. ron: so, what it is, is i got a van, did everything on craigslist-- garvin: turning a used van into a mobile laundromat, complete with two washers and dryers, hookups for power and water when it's available, a generator in storage when it's not. ron: so i put a tv on a garage door track. garvin: ron even fashioned an outside-of-the-van entertainment system for the clientele of this free service, the homeless of santa cruz. ron: i saw a need there. what i wanted to do is i wanted to restore dignity to people. i wanted to improve health.
ron: you have stuff tonight? okay, awesome. garvin: but the question of why ron, who has a day job at apple, is spending a few days and nights a week driving around the city offering his clothes-cleaning services, well, that question, ron says, is just as simple to answer. ron: you know, it's one thing to wash someone's clothes, even to feed them and help them, but it's another to feed the soul. ron: what was your name again? garvin: ron says he's someone who his whole life has spent a lot of time studying his faith but a few years ago, realized he wasn't putting it into action. ron: father, i thank you for manos. ron: what it really did is it just changed me. i realized i must have missed a turn somewhere early on. ron: yeah, if you get that, i'll put you in for a load right now. garvin: so, when ron came up with the idea of loads of love, his mobile- machine-washing ministry, it was a perfect fit. not just providing a needed service-- ron: lord, we know that you love roger. garvin: but one with some built-in downtime. ron: if you have something like their clothes, you've got 'em for an hour or 2 hours.
and so, what happens is, is i'm here already. i'm not goin' anyplace. we might as well have a conversation. garvin: whether that conversation leads to any kind of conversion, ron isn't so concerned. either way, he knows by the end of the night, a load of good will have been done. garvin: now we'd like to dip into our archives for a best of "bay area proud." it's the story of an east bay father paying it forward in a touching way. it has to do with a mural at a south bay hospital and how darren greenwood found a way to give back to the people who helped him during a difficult time. garvin: somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 cars drive past the livermore wastewater treatment plant on isabel avenue every single day, most of the people in them probably thinking the city paid a professional artist to create the murals they see spanning one corner of the property.
very few would guess it was really the guy in the corner office. darren: yeah, i do get that a lot. when people come out to tour the plant, they say, "nice whales." i say, "oh, thank you, i painted those." and they're like, "no, no, you had an artist do it." "no, no, i, it's me." garvin: darren greenwood is livermore's assistant public works director. and while water has been darren's profession for many years, art has been his hobby even longer. darren: you know, it's a nice outlet to relax. garvin: along the way, darren's done a few other high-profile jobs. but none has been as rewarding, he says, as those murals at his workplace. that is, until his latest work. darren: i mean, when else do you get a chance to make a difference to somebody who's sick? garvin: at age 17, darren's son, joe, was diagnosed with leukemia. kaiser permanente santa clara medical center would become the family's home away from home for the next 3 years.
it was something, however, they were given their very first night that stuck with darren, a care package of snacks for new patients and their families, thanks to an anonymous donor. darren: it was the coolest thing that somebody you don't know is thinkin' about ya, sorry. so i got to thinkin' at that point, "what could i do?" and i paint, so i figured that's what i could do. garvin: and that is just what darren did. he took 3 weeks off from his job at the water treatment plant, and working day and night, covered an entire wall and the ceiling of the pediatric family waiting area. darren: because people there with little kids, and then people sittin', getting worse diagnosises than we got.
and if there was some way to take somebody's mind off of that and you just get 'em out of the moment for a minute, that's worth a lot. garvin: darren says the mural is also a way to say, "thanks," to the doctors and nurses who eventually saved his son's life. and what better to celebrate such good work than with such a great piece of work. announcer: coming up, hammer, nails, and lots of ambition. some small south bay students have a big idea. their story next in our "bay area proud" special.
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when a teacher talks about bridge building-- female: listen to steven, he's got great ideas. garvin: she means making connections, not major construction. female: you need to keep each other on track garvin: but in rita malspy's 6th-grade classroom, when they talk about home building, well, that is exactly what they're talking about. rita: i always knew i didn't want to be a traditional classroom teacher. rita: this is what i want you to do. garvin: rita, you see, has been a fan of project-based learning for almost all of her 26-year career. each year, trying to come up with a bigger project for her students to collaborate on. which is why, this summer, while watching some home and garden tv, rita got her biggest idea yet. rita: i said, "what do you think if we try to build a tiny home?" and they were like, "[gasping] could we do that?" and i said, "what's stopping us?" female: i thought it was very interesting and ambitious. rita: just so we all are on the same page for fridays--
garvin: rita corralled some like-minded teachers to join her, and they were off and planning. male: do you have to buy stuff to put in it? garvin: with the help of an architect and a contractor, rita's students, along with other 3rd, 5th, and 6th graders, are figuring out design, estimating costs, and learning about construction techniques and timelines, all so that by the end of this school year, right outside rita's classroom, a real, permanent tiny home will stand. male: here right there is your shelves along the bottom. garvin: rita's students have fully embraced the project, and love the fact they'll be leaving a tangible legacy at their school. it's what they'll be taking with them into the future though that rita cares most about. rita: one of my students said to me, when i said, "the sky's the limit. you take your project wherever you want." and this one student raised his hand and said,
"why is the sky the limit? why can't we go," i get emotional, "but why can't we go higher than that?" and when a student says that, then you know that what you're doing is what's really best for your students. and how does a teacher say, "no," to that? rita: you're good at thinking outside the box. garvin: rita, of course, has taught long enough to know that a good teacher doesn't. garvin: you can see new "bay area proud" stories every tuesday and thursday evenings on nbc bay area news at 5 pm. if you know someone who should be featured, i'd love to hear from you. you can find links to my facebook, twitter, or email on our website. just scroll down to the "bay area proud" segment. i'm garvin thomas, good night. ♪
francisco neighborhood. police ch right now at 5:00, a scary scene in a busy san francisco neighborhood. police searching for suspects after a rolling gun battle. and americans making their opinions heard after the president's firing of the fbi director. we'll have the new nbc news poll. but first, don't doubt the dubs. a wild come back at oracle. these fans jmenniumping for joy. thank you for joining us on this sunday evening. i'm peggy bunker. >> and i'm terry mcsweeney. the warriors completed an anazing come back to get a win. we're looking at oracle where